BLOGS AND ARTICLES FROM THE POS SOLUTIONS TEAM

Point of Sale Software

What sells now?

POS SOFTWARE

With Coronavirus, it is clear that there is a major change in what retailers are seeing selling. 

The question raised now was do I have the right stock NOW in my shop. Another important question is do you actually have the stock you think you do? It is so easy to forget what you have when selling is so abnormal, here is a report that can help you.


And it is easy in our point-of-sale system to find out what is selling.

Go to Register reports

 

 

Now select "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period"

 

 

Let put in the dates since the lockdown took effect.

 

Now, the top items here need to be checked that you have enough stock.

Give it a shot and see how you go.

I expect that some items would be selling well some are bombing because everything is changing due to Coronavirus. This is one report, that I suggest you run regularly until this crisis settles down, gut feel and experience can work against you.

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New CRM software release

POS SOFTWARE

Large companies for years have been integrating their CRM (Customer relationship management) into their point of sale software. Today with coronavirus its more important than ever, so we are pleased to announce that we have added and extended our CRM facility in our software.

You will find this new CRM section in our reporting menu here.  

 

I urge you to go through this section. You can find some details on it here to start you off

Consider the genuine benefits for CRM your business, enjoy!

 

 

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Disinfecting your keyboard

POS SOFTWARE

Now with this virus running around it is very important that any equipment eg keyboard used by several people is cleaned regularly. (Industry standard now vary from hourly to once a day). I suppose it depends on high you feel the risk of contamination is likely to be but the front counter of a shop, I am sure rates a very high risk.

As we are not talking here of cleaning but disinfecting, we have a problem as keyboard certainly does not like moisture of any type and yet to disinfect you need liquid.

You need a disinfectant. Antibacterial is not enough. You need something that kills viruses.

Do not use bleach as this causes discolouration.

So do need a non-abrasive cleaning cloth, do not use toilet paper, kitchen wipes might be okay although proper wipes are the best.

In my supermarket, I could not get any antiviral clothes as they sold out, so I went online and found a recipe. I took a small jar and filled it with 3/4 methylated spirits and the rest dishwashing solution. I then found this made a terrific cleaning solution better than the one we were using. Then put in on a cleaning cloth, so it became damp but not dripping and any excess moisture I squeezed from the fabric.

{ Note I am not a doctor so take this advice in this spirit}

Unplug the keyboard. 

Now hold the keyboard upside down if possible and wipe it using some elbow grease carefully. 

Above all, do not get any liquid inside the keyboard.

Now leave the keyboard upside down, as they say, it needs a minute to kill the coronavirus. 

Now dry the keyboard with a kitchen wipe, and then you can use it.

 

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Marketing now

POS SOFTWARE

Rethink your marketing

Whatever debates people have had in the past about marketing, e.g. social media, discount vouchers vs loyalty programs. The reality is now that the only form of marketing now is online, and the only growing market is online.  The debate is over for the next six months may be longer.

People are stuck at home. They are bored. They use online to buy. Whatever else is happening, sales online is holding up.

Do you have a digital strategy?

Do you have a Facebook page for your business, if so you need to use it now? If you do not have one, then I suggest you start now. Note we do offer a free Facebook advice line to our clients if you need some help there.

Do you have a loyalty club with email addresses, if so you need to start a regular email newsletter to your clients as we have been suggesting to our clients for years to do, well use it?

Do you have a website, now you need one. 

If you have a website, I hope you have a click and collect or delivery service options.

My advice is to revamp your online now.

 

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Working from home

POS SOFTWARE

 

With our point of sale, there is a range of solutions for remote working. There are many advantages to doing so for one thing it saves time. You do not have to travel to work to get the information you require, and you can work whenever. The other now is that it increases social distance.

Also, it may be very useful now to set up cloud computing or VPN because if you have staff that can work from home, I am sure that they will appreciate it too.

 

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Uncertainty over Bauer, on its Pacific Magazines acquisition

POS SOFTWARE

It appears that the Bauer may be reconsidering its proposed purchase of Pacific Magazines deal despite getting ACCC approval.

Everyone is sure it has to do with the uncertainly of coronavirus.

If I was Blauer,  I would be wondering about coronavirus firstly what it will do to circulation. Some think that with more people at home, reading magazine will grow in popularity.

Still, that is not the big revenue issue but the fact that that the outlook for advertising spending is down, the prime problem here is the postponement of significant events such as the Olympics.

If it does not go ahead, I think that it is unfortunate for many magazine resellers, as the commercial reality today means the acquisition it is necessary to produce cost cuts required by the industry.

Having said that despite what has been said the circulation declines in the last few years, I expect more magazine titles closing. What is important is that this acquisition may reduce this trend.

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Video conferencing software review

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

Most suppliers will have their own favourites, here is a list of ones that I think if you have not got anything to look at that can handle 4+ people and are free to use. For family and friends, you may need it too

Google hangouts, as most people now have a Gmail account, they are already signed up. We use this one for our video conferencing. We find it very good for chatting. What I like is that it can run on a very wide variety of platforms. It is fairly easy to use once you get used to it.  It also being actively updated.

The problems we have is that it does require a decent internet connection if you have a bad quality internet which happens a lot in Australia when the NBN goes haywire, you can be cut out.   

Here are some others 

Discord 

Google duo 

Uberconference
To ease disruption from COVID-19, UberConference Free now allows longer call duration and up to 50 participants.

Whatsapp

Many of the Australian schools are using it now, so many people already have it. What is really good about it is the security.

Zoom you may this one as it is now taking off because the schools are switching to it. From what we have been told its close to breaking point with now over 25 million users.

Jitsi

Houseparty

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eCommerce websites

POS SOFTWARE

One point about the current lockdown is that eCommerce is continuing unaffected, I am sure that it is going up. People are not afraid to shop via apps and websites. Many now have nothing to do but research and buy online products that they need.

What I have noticed is that in our clients' websites, the product mix is changing rapidly as one great advantage with online shops is that the range of products can be quickly changed as you do not have to have the product to sell it. 

 

 

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How far off are you to last year's sales due to coronavirus?

POS SOFTWARE

What many want to know is what effect is this coronavirus having on your business.

What several of my clients are telling me because many people are at home, they are buying very differently now. This I will discuss in another post. Let us first work out where we are up to now.

The report I recommend that you look at first is in the Reporting Documents > Dissection Family Class Period Sales Comparison.

Put in the following details.

 

There are many more options here but let us keep it simple, you can always experiment later if you want to learn more, so leave it as All Stock lines and do not select for the extra information as yet. You will still get a very detailed comparison by department and class. 

 

It will make I am sure fascinating reading, in my view, the two most important metrics here are Qty which are the number of sales for each department and the $ Profit made by each department. 

What can also be useful is running the same report comparing the year before last year with the same period this year.

Remember that random chance dictates that about third are up, a third is down and the rest about the same. So you need to study the figures.

At the end of today's trading, you simply need to include date of today to get current figures.

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Coronavirus

POS SOFTWARE

Ain't this the truth, how we are all feeling now

 

The coronavirus has created a lot of upheaval and uncertainty in all of our lives. However, despite these worrying times, I want to reassure you that we are here for you and will continue to service your computer and software needs.

We are now implementing several changes to ensure so we can continue to provide service across all our operations. We're ready to help you and are committed to delivering the excellent service that we always do.

If you need to make contact with us the usual methods continue; mail, online chat, email and telephone. 

Just please stay safe, and we encourage you to monitor the Australian Government's COVID-19 health alerts here.

We hope in these turbulent times, you, your staff and your loved ones stay safe.

Kind regards,

Bernard Zimmermann

POS Solution director

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Webcam

POS SOFTWARE

 

We all this virus running around, I think many of you are going to find that many schools, suppliers and others are going to be using video conferencing rather than sending people out. Besides being more time effective and cheaper, it also means less social contact.

For most of them, your smartphone is fine, most laptops have an inbuilt camera and microphones already set up. I prefer the laptop as its a bigger picture.

If you wish to use a computer you need to purchase a Webcam and Mic which will clip onto your computer and allows you to see on video and chat face-to-face over the Internet in real-time. 

* Although I suggest that you make sure its resolution on standard is at least 640 pixels by 480 pixels nowadays for very little more you can get a high definition (HD) video, with 1,600 pixels by 1,200 pixels so I would say an HD.  

* The higher the megapixels the better. 

* Look at the frames per second (fps),  lower fps rates will create problems including jumpy videos with out-of-sync audio. I would recommend looking at nothing less than 30 but more is better. Over 60 fps its overkill.

* I find built-in microphones better than headsets. It is less restrictive.

* Low-light sensitivity can be very useful as often we tend on my computer to work in low light so the light is often not the best

* You need a decent internet connection speed but most of us have that now anyway. 

 

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Coronavirus

POS SOFTWARE

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Debt controlling

POS SOFTWARE

Debt is everywhere, it affects almost every human organisation, in my lifetime, I have seen the greatest empire in the world, the USSR and most important people like the Shah of Iran collapse from it. 

They did not have money to pay for people, and because of the debt no-one would lend them more money, soon their worlds collapsed.

Debt is part of modern life. If you sit back and wait, the worst might just happen. Here is a quick way of determining just how much debt your business is owed.

So go to main menu.

Register reports


Now usually, I would recommend using Trial Balance(excel), but for this example, I just wish it to be simple, so I selected Trial Balance.

 

 

Now select today's date, although just to show you the power of our system, I picked a random date many years ago.

I also selected by order by Surname as I think it makes it easier to find, and I ignored the "More Criteria" because I do want to keep it simple, but I urge you to experiment later with these options.

 

 

Now out pops among other details a page like this one below Although for security reasons, I blanked out the names, you can see all the relevant information is here.

 

A total will be printed at the end.

This gives you a quick look to understand your situation.

 

What interesting exercise is to go back in and select today's date last year and see how your debt situation is shaping up. If it is dramatically going up, I would suggest that you take action rather then praying for the best.

 

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Coronavirus a rant

POS SOFTWARE

 

The NBN in a client site was supposed to be installed on the 28/02/20. It got delayed till the 19/02/20, then was cancelled but in the last few hours, NBN got someone else, so the NBN installation was done, but from the internet company's app, it is clear that they have not got the word that it is installed.

Yesterday they rang the internet company, asked for accounts said their details to the automatic service and got cut off with an automatic message that the installation was cancelled but that the internet company would contact them when a new install was scheduled. So they rang for support and put in their details and it again they get an automated message to say that the installation is cancelled but that the internet company would contact them when a new install was scheduled. 

So they ring support again. This time they do not say the details requested. They wait almost an hour on the phone till they get through to support, the Philippines is in lockdown because of the virus, and they have been transferred to India which is on partial lockdown (people working but at home). The support guy who is flat out said that he could not help them, but told them that they need to write an email to the internet company at this address with their details explaining the problem. This they did.

Yesterday the app is still showing that they are no installed by the NBN. So they ring the complaint department and cannot get through, they can see an email address to complain if they want.

No internet and no ETA!

I wonder what the total bill for economic disruption will be for this virus. 

 

 

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Speed up Windows 10

POS SOFTWARE

On most POS computers, Cortana is not required. Cortana is a virtual assistant created by Microsoft for Windows 10 Few use it, most in my experience that use a  virtual assistant prefer Google assistant or Amazon Alex. 

The big problem is that part of Cortana is SearchUI.exe. This piece of software will use a lot of your system resources and so can cause a significant speed loss on your computer. As such as a rule we turn it off but many other vendors leave it on. 

If you do not use Microsoft Cortana search assistant, I would suggest that you try turning it off too. Instructions are here.

 

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‘Just Walk Out’ tech coming very soon

POS SOFTWARE

 

Amazon has launched a new business to sell its 'Just Walk Out’ technology that it uses now in its cashier-less Amazon Go stores to other retailers and apparently many shops are interested. 

Some interesting points are that 

- the site has no pricing. 

- Support appears to be over phone and email. 

- Interestingly the setup and installation of the system are stated as a few weeks once Amazon has access to the retailer’s store, It seems like it requires a shop fit to work.

I can see why shop owners would be interested as they get rid of all queues and the cashiers that they have now. 

Assuming it is as good as they claim, I would not be surprised if in five (5) years we will be installing in most of our sites this technology.

 

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Upcoming Price Increase

POS SOFTWARE

Computer suppliers have been calling us over the past few days. They are telling us that barring a miracle, as the Australian dollar is currently sitting at its lowest levels in almost 20 years and still going south, that they cannot honour their current pricelists and new ones will soon be issued. I expect that the new computer hardware price will probably be at a 3-5% increase. We have stock in hand enough to last us till late March but after that our prices and everyone else prices will be going up.

The only good news now is that the Australian government stimulus package could help support the economy and the dollar. 

Anyway if you have now any plans to upgrade your computer system soon, now is the time to do it.

 

 

 

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Woolworths and Coronavirus today

POS SOFTWARE

 

A friend of mine went to Woolworths for the oldies shopping today. He got there at 7.15 AM. He found no toilet paper (no delivery apparently), no eggs no sugar etc.

 

 

 

 

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Coronavirus retail tip

POS SOFTWARE

This is a community service and marketing tip that you may want to consider that is now being tried overseas and now in Australia.

To help people that are in the high-risk category for the Coronavirus e.g. elderly, some shops are announcing special hours for these people scheduled just after the shop is cleaned and disinfected. In the USA, it is being done in many stores now.

In Australia, Woolworths will be open for such people starting Tuesday, from 7 am to 8 am for such people before the general opening at 8 am.

It would be easy to implement as most of us have a regular cleaning service time, so introduce the special opening straight after that of course if you have a Woolworths nearby you probably want to piggyback on their times.  

If you try it out, let me know.

PS

I found this movie that seems now almost too real about what an outbreak of such a disease Coronavirus looks like which I do recommend, It follows the path of a spread of a disease and the attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease and its effect on the public. I enjoyed it a lot and I think now it is well worth a look.

 

 

 

 

 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for business

POS SOFTWARE

 

Victorian Chamber of Commerce has here put together a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources for business here with many useful links for you.

I do not know what to say about it, no matter what you think of the Coronavirus effect, it is clear to our community this is Economic and Social disaster.

If it continues it may grinding much of the country to a halt.  Schools are shutting down. The Australian Grand Prix is cancelled, they are talking of closing down part of Australia as they have done in some overseas country e.g. Spain, Italy, South Korea and China where 100 million people are in lockdown. In some countries now save for supermarkets and pharmacies, all malls are closed. Restaurants, public hotel dining, gyms, pools, amusement parks, zoos, bathhouses, beauty and massage salons, event and conference venues, public boats, heritage sites etc. closed too. People in religious activities have to keep at least two meters from one another.  

I have clients that have 30% to 40% of their business is Chinese tourists and most of that is gone, and that is hurting. Where is this going to go? 

The closest example I can think of is the Spanish flu which my aunty talked a lot about it, it closed down much of Australia for over a year, made sick about 40 per cent of the population and killed around 15,000. Are we looking at something like this?

Several of my clients have received advise sheets that state

- That they have to clean up frequently their public areas, door handles, public bathrooms, etc. with disinfectant.

- Make available antibacterial hand sanitisers. 

In theory, it is all good advice. The problem is that try and get antibacterial hand sanitisers now, I went six (6)  time to my supermarket, and they had none.  

One of my clients reported to me that they rang the government Coronavirus helpline, and the phone rang out.

Another told me that Coronavirus tests in Australia are now only available to high-risk people. 

Two pieces of advice, I was told besides the  handwashing everyone talks about

1) Give yourself plenty of fresh air, make sure the air in the shop circulates

2) Do not touch your face but without a mask, its almost impossible to do as a study here showed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is this leading too?

 

 

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